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Anxiety and panic attacks start to get hold of me... help me to revert this!

Hello :)

I'm Alex, in my late thirties. Beside some worries about school performance, about other's perception of me, about this and that, i was always ok to good, and balanced, psychologically speaking.

Nonetheless, some anxiety about the future started to pile up, as my parents grew older, my mom retired, many of my younger cousins started to have families while i was single. But the tippoint point was two years ago, when i took my first real job in the corporate world, and in a new industry, in a new city where i didn't want to live. I had a panic attack in the plane when i went for my interview. One month before my expatriation, i started to have extrasystoles, did exams, doc didn't see anything, and it went away after a few days. And during those two years, i had several physical manifestations of anxiety, and/or anxiety being created by physical problems: sore throat for 6 months, some kind of reflux, heartburn, etc. And every 6 months, a panick attack. Always the same routine, i go to E.R., do blood checks & all, nothing to report.

Now i came back to my home country, but still away from my family. Intense job. Lockdown, a bit alone. And in a downward spiral, my mind is focusing on some kind of heartburn/GERD that is becoming permanent, and every symptoms increase the anxiety, the fear boost the symptoms and prevent me to go see a doctor as i'm afraid of invasive exams.

Every night, even if i elevate my head, i feel a discomfort, a weight in my chest/belly, even if i do stretching, yoga, eat well... and the mind is focusing on it, and have difficulties letting go, to sleep, afraid that this problem is something bad, that i won't wake up.

In other words, this situation starts to be super annoying and a hindrance, preventing me to take the plane now, or the boat, or any situation that would make me self-aware of being stranded from civilization, from a doctor, etc.

Your concrete advice would be much appreciated, thanks!
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973741 tn?1342342773
Hi there. Gosh, I"m sorry to hear that you are having this issue.  Anxiety is a beast, isn't it?  I think covid has been very isolating and stressful too.  I totally agree.  I had times where I'm afraid of the virus and worried about finances and stuck by myself.  Alone with my thoughts.  I have a family but you can still feel alone, if you know what I mean. One thing that has really started to become popular because of covid is virtual therapy.  How do you feel about that? Most any therapist will do sessions virtually right now or there are online serves like Better Health too.  I don't know that Better Health takes insurance.  My son as a lot of mental health issues and did virtual therapy. The plus side is that it is so much easier to schedule. You just need a quiet and private place and your device (even a phone) to do it.  Verses leaving work, driving, etc.  So, is that something you'd consider?  I think having a professional guide you would be best.

I can't say enough about family support.  It really IS meaningful.  In this connected world, what about connecting with them more often?  Zoom, facetime, skype ,etc.  And if you are working from home, you could go for a visit and work from there for a bit?  You have options!  As a person who lived alone a long time, I did find moving to where my family was was of comfort for me.  But you have to address your anxiety as a separate issue, THE issue.  Episodic things can make anxiety worse but if you are having panic attacks, you want to treat your depression.  A combination of a doctor possibly prescribing medication and talk therapy can often help us cope and maybe even completely overcome the level of anxiety that makes us have difficulty functioning.  

One thing I've seen more and more is how chronic anxiety and depression can have such a physical impact on people. From lethargy, to dizziness, to stomach aches, headaches, sleeplessness, etc.  If you are experiencing these types of things, please find some help. Let us know what you think and how you are doing.
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In the mean time, you asked for some practical tips to help with panic attacks. Check this article out to see if any of it helps. https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-stop-a-panic-attack
Avatar universal
Sometimes it's just our. time to get this cursed anxiety disorder.  Sometimes there's a traumatic event that triggers it.  Sometimes it seems to come from nowhere at all.  You've been fighting a growing anxiety problem for awhile now, so I'm going to ask, have you sought therapy from a psychologist who specializes in the treatment of anxiety yet?  Especially CBT?  Most likely the reflux, which is a digestive problem, is being caused by the anxiety if it's not your diet.  I'd say you need to do two things:  learn some relaxation techniques such as meditation, maybe do some cardio if yoga is your only exercise to get some burn, learn some deep breathing and such things to take some of the edge off while you find a good therapist and go to work on fixing this.  If it continues to spiral, however, and therapy doesn't arrest this intensification, you might ask that therapist if it's time to look at medication.  I'd try to fix it first without it, as meds for anything can be a problem, but what you want to avoid is multiplying your phobias to where your life gets very small.  The time to act is now.  This will take work and focus, it won't happen quickly; meds are quicker when they work but again, all medication comes with problems, but you really don't want to wait until you're staying home all the time with mounting fears.  It's no fun, trust me on that.  Peace.
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And blaming it on stress of your job or this or that is only useful if those things are so traumatic they can cause anxiety to arise where it wouldn't otherwise have done so.  Everyone's life is full of stress if they choose to focus on that.  If they don't focus on that, it isn't.
thanks for the answer :)
Yeah for sure, i don't blame it on the job, i don't blame it on anyone. I just want to get rid of it. And the "phobias multiplying", i can feel it. At first, no known phobia beside a big discomfort since childhood about pools. Then planes, then boats, then heights, then any situation where i feel i'm losing control or where i'm trapped.

For now i can live a normal life, and i have the reflex to challenge those fears, to confront them. But i certainly don't want this to worsen, quite the contray...
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